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Police: Helsinki May Day Eve crash driver not intoxicated

Authorities continue to seek out people who may have witnessed incidents leading up to the collisions.

Police deal with the aftermath of the crash along Helsinki's Esplanade Park on 30 April. File photo. Image: Jussi Mankkinen / Yle

The 33-year-old driver of a car who struck nine vehicles amid festivities in downtown Helsinki on May Day Eve was not intoxicated, city police announced on Wednesday.

Three men, including the driver, were injured in the series of crashes by the city's popular Esplanade Park at around 7pm on 30 April. Video from the scene appeared to show the car narrowly missing several pedestrians at high speed.

Police said on Wednesday that the driver was no longer suspected of driving under the influence. Police have previously said they are investigating the case as aggravated endangerment of traffic safety, grievous bodily harm, resisting an official and insubordination.

Authorities have also said they do not believe the suspect was intentionally trying to strike pedestrians, that his actions had any ideological basis or that they were premeditated.

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An ongoing preliminary investigation into the incident will take several weeks, according to police.

Authorities have interviewed more than 20 eyewitnesses and examined the route taken by the driver before the chain of collisions on Pohjoisesplanadi, a street that runs parallel to Esplanade Park.

Police said investigators are particularly interested in speaking to a man who was standing with a small child at the intersection of Aleksanterinkatu and Katariinankatu at the time of the incident.

The suspect's vehicle passed within a metre of the man and child before driving on to the Pohjoisesplanadi roadway.

Last week, the Ministry of Finance confirmed the car involved in the series of crashes belonged to one of its officials. However, police have not confirmed whether the vehicle's owner was driving the car at the time of the collisions.

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